The current era of ignorance and lies (like most other human eras I have to say) provides a self-styled rationalist and social critic like me with plenty of material to rationalize about and criticize. The opposite of a rationalist is an irrationalist (bet ya didn’t know that!), and an era of ignorance and lies that are spread form the top down creates plenty of irrational human beings. So irrationalists are my natural enemy.
Many irrationalists can be found among the adherents of the world’s major religions. Despite the fact that there is a wealth of evidence that most of the Bible, for one example, has been rewritten many times over the centuries and that it contains a lot of fabricated information, millions of people around the world still believe in its literal truth or in the spirit of its teachings.Why is this? The answer is revealed in the bible itself: “and thus spake the lord: people are idiots and will believe any old bullshit they are are offered as long as it makes them feel good.” I’m pretty sure that’s in the bible , if it’s not, I’ll add it since, as I mentioned, adding stuff to the bible seems to be kosher (pun intended!).One of the most interesting parts of the bible is the ‘end times’ prophecies. ‘Revelations’ speaks of an “end of the world” where Jesus returns and everyone on the planet is judged by ‘god’ and either whisked up to heaven, (possibly by way of one of the many tornadoes that have been reported around the world of late) or cast down to hell (possibly by way of one of the many volcanoes that have been erupting lately).
Prior to this ‘judgement day’, the bible tells us, there will be many signs of its approach, for example, “signs in the sun, moon and stars” and on earth “nations in agony”. If I could sum up the end times prophecies in the bible I would say that it states that you know the end of the world is coming when there are wars and famines and earthquakes and ‘godlessness’ (i.e. people acting like complete morons) on an unprecedented scale. While such fun things have always defined human civilization, a strong argument can be made that the events of recent years fit the description of the biblical ‘end times’ particularly well. Granted, there were a few major wars during last century, but they didn’t really coincide with the earthquakes, storms and meteorites etc. that have been vying with the warmongers for attention over the past 10 years or so. Along with famines earthquakes, wars and godlessness that the bible says will precede the ‘end times’, there is also significant mention of what appear to be rocks falling from the sky:
…and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree by a strong wind. (Revelation 6:13)
…and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky… (Revelation 8:10)
From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. (Revelation 16:21)
…and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. (Revelation 8:8)
The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. (Revelation 9:1)
…the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29)
…the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky… (Joshua 10:11)
His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to earth. (Revelation 12:4)
Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea… (Revelation 18:21)
But wait a minute! If the bible was rewritten many times and contains a lot of fabricated information, how can I suggest (albeit subtly) that bible prophecy is real and coming true before our eyes? The answer is that while the bible contains some evidence of an unnatural prescience or pre-cognition on the part of its authors, and while true believers would say that his is evidence that ‘god’ is the author of the bible because the ancient art of scrying is small potatoes to the almighty, the fact of the matter is that predicting the future doesn’t always require supernatural abilities, especially when your predictions are general and not tied to one day or even year.
For example, I can predict that next year winter will end and eventually summer will arrive and leaves will grow again on trees. My point is that the future can be roughly predicted if you can observe that certain things happen in cycles. So if we ditch the idea that the bible is the word of god, strip away the religious gloss and accept that it was largely the work of human intelligence, we can make a lot more sense of the ‘end times’ prophecies in the bible. What I am suggesting is that the eschatological predictions in Revelations are based on an ancient and mundane understanding of historical and cyclical cataclysms that have plagued the earth (pun intended).
Over the centuries however, the practical information pertaining to these catastrophes was covered up and incorporated into the mainstream religions as ‘end times’ prophecies and thereby placed firmly in the domain of an all-powerful god that humanity had to either obey or risk destruction. Obviously, this was done so that a relative few ‘elite’ might rule over the masses. The truth, that humanity risks destruction regardless of whether or not they obey some bearded dude in the sky, or rather, that humanity is placed in an even more precarious position vis a vis their destruction BECAUSE they have have bought the lie that only allegiance to a ‘god’ can prevent destruction, has been rather effectively concealed for centuries and is today studiously ignored by those who happen to stumble over it. After all, who wants to give serious consideration to the idea that humans are not so special after all and our wonderful technology is useless against the awesome forces of nature as it goes about the business of periodically ‘rebooting’ a planet and most life upon it.
I’ve already mentioned the wars, quakes, ‘godlessness’ and fire and brimstone from on high. All of these ‘natural’ events have been increasing in frequency and number for several years. There is one other notable biblical reference to the ‘end times’ that is probably familiar to many people: rivers and seas ‘running with blood’ or turning ‘blood red’. Here again we find many incidents of this strange phenomenon in recent years:
And that’s just a few examples over recent years. Reading each of the accounts, we notice that reporters attempt to pass off the strange discoloration as “natural” while admitting that the cause is “still unknown”. There is a possibility that, in some cases, the red color is the result of an unusually intense plankton bloom, but again, why the plankton would be blooming so magnificently is either not understood, or not explained. The most plausible explanation is that these red lakes, rivers and seas are the result of a changing climate (warmer or colder oceans, rivers etc) that is in turn a result of a change in cosmic radiation reaching our planet that is, in turn (sorry!) evidence that we are on the cusp of another cyclical catastrophe.
For a more detailed explanation of this topic I encourage you to read Laura-Knight-Jadczyk’s excellent and eminently readable book The Apocalypse: Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes.